South Sudan: Rwandan Troops Implicated in Malakal Attack
Community leaders and representatives of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in South Sudan’s Upper Nile State have accused Rwandan peacekeeper troops of involvement in February’s attack in Malakal.
More than 40 people were killed and at least 90 injured when gunmen opened fire on civilians at a UN camp for IDPs in Malakal last month. Many people are still missing after the attack and ethnic leaders in the area have accused Rwandan peacekeepers of being involved.
Rwandan troops ‘cooperated’ in attack
In a joint letter, written to the UN by Shilluk and Nuer ethnic group leaders, Rwandan peacekeeper troops are accused of cooperating with the government’s SPLA forces in the attack.
“We request that we will not be protected by the Rwandan force protection unit and Rwandan battalion as they already failed to carry out their duties in preventing SPLA [Sudan People’s Liberation Army] from attacking us; instead they have cooperated with the SPLA in our murdering,” part of the letter reads, according to Sudan Tribune.
Rwandan peacekeeper troops are accused of preventing civilians escaping from the camp. The letter claims many of the people killed were shot because they were blocked from leaving Charlie Gate by the Rwandan soldiers.
Calls for an independent investigation
The letter calls upon the UN to conduct an independent investigation into the attack, claiming civilians at the camp will not be safe until the correct parties are held accountable.
The letter reinforces claims by opposition groups in South Sudan that the country’s government orchestrated the attack. The UN had previously expressed concern over “credible” reports that SPLA forces were involved in the attack, but called in the South Sudanese government to investigate the incident.
By Staff Sgt. Bradley C. Church, U.S. Air Force – http://www.defense.gov/photos/newsphoto.aspx?newsphotoid=6858, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1249329